Non-toll free conference access numbers are just regular 10 digit phone numbers that include the area code. It is considered a long distance call. On the other hand, toll free numbers begin with 800, 855, 866, or 877.
If you are dialing into a conference call and it is a long distance number, that is considered a toll call. Non-toll free conference calling services are, by far, the most popular in the United States.
Estimates on usage indicate that they are used ten times more than 800 conference calling. There are a number of reasons why there is such a wide disparity of usage between 800 and regular toll conferencing, but the difference centers primarily on pricing. Simply, having conference call users dial a non-toll, or long distance, access number is much less expensive than providing a toll free number. In fact, there are plans where you can get unlimited conference usage for a monthly fixed or flat rate, regardless of how many minutes you use.
It should be noted that another reason why non-toll free conference calls are so popular is because most callers don’t have to worry about the cost of a long distance call since most of the phone users in the United States get free long distance, either automatically on their cell phone or bundled with their local telephone service for their landlines. Why spend extra on an 800 number, when it’s free to call long distance anyway?
The upside is that if you are a heavy user, you can save a small fortune using the flat rate conferencing service. The downside is that if you don’t use the service, you are still required to pay the monthly rate.
You can also get conference services that are calculated on a per minute rate, providing either an 800 or non-toll free access number. You pay per minute on a pay-as-you-go plan — you only pay for what you use, when you use it. Most business leaders would it agree that if the purpose of the conference call is for customer service, or sales calls to prospects, it is very important to offer the convenience of a toll free number.
However, if an organization is looking to cut costs and needs conferencing for internal use among employees and associates, then a non-toll free conference number is preferable. The use of a regular long distance conference access numbers will continue to overshadow the market into the foreseeable future. In fact, the use might increase as more and more people and organizations get free long distance and long distance rates continue to decline. It is a very effective and viable way for you to enjoy all the benefits of collaborative conferencing, while at the same time minimizing travel, meeting and telecommunication costs.
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